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Rangers crisis: Charles Green urged to sell club to Smith consortium

The former manager launched a rival bid to buy the Ibrox club hours after its liquidation was confirmed.

Quality photo of Rangers prospective owner Charles Green outisde Ibrox.
SNS Group

New Rangers chief executive Charles Green has come under pressure to sell the club on to a consortium fronted by former Ibrox manager Walter Smith.

Jim McColl, who is backing the rival bid, said it would be "in the best interest of Rangers FC" to transfer control of the club, just hours after his purchase was confirmed.

He said: "I would like to issue a public appeal to Charles Green to strongly consider selling the club to the consortium fronted by Walter Smith. This would be in the best interests of Rangers FC, the fans and the whole of Scottish football.

"Mr Green does not have the backing of Rangers supporters and the longer he delays the harder the situation will become."

The former Sheffield United chairman told a hastily convened press conference at Ibrox that he would be offering Mr Smith a role as "chairman of the football board".

Smith's announcement that he was fronting a rival consortium to buy the club came hours after Rangers' liquidation was confirmed.

Speaking at a press conference at Ibrox, Mr Green said he had not been approached by Smith with a formal offer, but said the former Ibrox manager and Jim McColl could invest in the club.

Mr Green said he had now completed the purchase of Rangers, who face liquidation after the CVA agreement was rejected by the club's creditors at a meeting earlier on Thursday.

He stated that the new business entity had acquired all of the club’s assets.

The deal led by Mr Green’s Sevco consortium sees £5.5m used to pay administrators Duff and Phelps, as well as purchase Ibrox, Murray Park training ground and all other assets.

Mr Green also insisted he wanted manager Ally McCoist to stay at the club. McCoist's position has been the subject of intense speculation that he may quit in the wake of the rejection of the CVA.

Mr Green said he wanted to speak to McCoist as a matter of urgency, adding he had only had one ten-second phone conversation with the manager so far.

He said he was not prepared to sell his shareholding to Mr Smith's consortium, but admitted that other shareholders would.

The failure of the CVA was confirmed in a nine-minute meeting earlier in the day after main creditor HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) objected to it.

Mr Smith announced the surprise rival bid hours later, calling on Mr Green to "step aside and allow us to proceed with our deal which is in the best interests of the creditors, the employees, the fans and the various other stakeholders of Rangers Football Club."

He added: "Our overriding objective is to ensure that the stadium, the history and everything else magical about Rangers Football Club is protected and nurtured back to good health and provide a platform for Rangers for generations to come."

In a statement on Thursday afternoon Mr Green said his purchase of the club had “taken effect immediately”.

He added: "Following the formal decision of the creditors' meeting at Ibrox Stadium today, the consortium I represent has fulfilled its agreement with the administrators and has completed the acquisition of the business and assets of The Rangers Football Club plc.

"The transfer of the business and assets to a new company structure has taken effect immediately and the new company is The Rangers Football Club. An application has already been made by the company to register with the Scottish Football Association and to participate in the SPL.

"These applications will be considered over the next few weeks and I will continue to have discussions with the football authorities in relation to the club's position. This day is bitter-sweet for the consortium I represent. From our first involvement we made it clear we would have preferred to acquire this great club through a CVA."

The Rangers Supporters Assembly issued a statement on Thursday evening stating their disappointment in the decision to go down the newco route.

They said: "The Rangers Supporters Assembly is extremely disappointed that, despite numerous assurances from Duff & Phelps that a successful CVA was achievable, it seems a “newco” was always their preferred option.

"It’s now time to take stock of the situation we find the Club in and it is essential that the best solution involves only the best people to take the Club forward. The Club clearly needs serious investment and if the new board are unable to provide this, should consider any possible bids and assurances that can provide this.

"The Rangers Family has suffered one of the most horrendous periods in our history and as the key stakeholders in the club, the supporters are desperate for positive news and hope to hear much more in coming days."

Watch Rangers - The Downfall: a Scotland Tonight special from 10.40pm on Thursday hosted by John MacKay

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